Looking Back and Forging Ahead: Preparing for 2013

brave-new-world-0810Did anyone here read the first column I ever wrote for Green AV? If you didn’t, you should. It was good… I mean, really good. I told you I would focus on goal-setting, and sharing success stories with you. I said this place would be less about scare tactics, and more about envisioning together where we should be headed with the right tools to do so. So, on that note – and to kick off 2013 in the best way – I’d like to take a look back at what we’ve learned in the last year or two, and make some forecasts about where we are headed.

Lessons Learned, Achievements Made

  1. We created standards… a big deal, but it was hard! Lest you poo poo this one, let me tell you from experience how momentous this really is. As the co-chair for the AV/Production committee of the ASTM Standard for an Environmentally Sustainable Meeting, I experienced first-hand how labor-intensive and political this process can be. It took us three years and all the passion we could muster to get the standards done. However, in a shorter time frame, and with probably much less on-the-job-training, the STEP rating system, the ANSI Energy Management standards and ISO 20121 Event Sustainability Management System were all completed. This is largely due to the support, funding and expertise of an association like InfoComm and the demand of an event like the Olympics. Lesson Learned: Find support in the form of experience and ensure there is a market demand for standards.
  2. Standards alone are not enough. This means that we need stakeholder engagement, from end-user to manufacturers. Educational opportunities are a MUST, whether from private trainers or associations.
  3. No one can do this alone. In a recent rAVe Radio podcast interview with my friends Scott Walker of Waveguide Consulting (remember…that guy that used to take up the space above my column?) and Gary Hall of Cisco, we talked about their invitation to present on Capitol Hill, to the U.S. House of Representatives’ High-Performance Building Congressional Caucus Coalition, which came largely as a result of collaboration with BICSI.  This illustrated the need for cross-industry collaboration.Lesson Learned: Expand your education and awareness to industries outside of ours in order to outsmart your competition and lead the industry.
  4. Resource and knowledge are available! With several years of archives of columns such as this, the building of future GreenAV podcasts and the continued efforts of organizations such as Project Green AV, we have now compiled a solid knowledge base of resources. Lesson Learned: Use the resources and share your experience equally.

What Lies Ahead, Forecasts for 2013

  1. Legislation is upon us. If you didn’t catch it, the President made a point of mentioning climate change as a major component of his next term in office. And when you hear that type of talk, it is fairly safe to assume lawmaking will follow. I like to cite the example of microphone manufacturers and their management of the FCC regulations. By being proactive about legislation passed in 2009 (some claim they had been tracking progress and preparing since 2007), they were well prepared with business opportunities when it went into effect in 2010. Lesson to be learned: Get educated, stay aware and begin looking for business opportunities.
  2. Structure and measurement are imminent. For what has been a long time, we’ve kind of crept our way around a dark room looking for answers. Well, now there are a bevy of them floating around. And what’s coming is more structure around sustainability. A large part of this is a result of #3, which is:
  3. Tools and specialists will arrive to market. Right now, there is a contingency of experts building tools to help businesses incorporate sustainability into their audiovisual operations. Backed by international legislation, a President with an agenda and a respectable collection of peer-developed standards, these experts are no longer “gurus,” but trained experts who can help drive business success through sustainable practices. Lesson to be learned: Find experts who have a background in AV or technology and make sure they use the language of business.

Midori Connolly is the founder of AVGirl Productions in California. She wrote the first-ever set of Sustainable Staging best practices after discovering none existed. She was the co-chair of the AV committee for the ASTM Standard for Environmentally Sustainable Meetings and is a speaker, writer and consultant for green practices in live events and meeting planning. Reach her at midori@avgirlproductions.com